You know that viral thing going around that asks you to list ten books that stayed with you or influenced your life? The one I just recently caved to peer pressure and participated in?
It turns out that most of the books people list were written for children. (This shouldn’t surprise us—to quote Madeleine L’Engle, “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”)
You can find the whole list of books and percentages of people who listed them, compiled by Facebook’s slightly-creepy data analysts. But I did want to note that the third most listed book is The Lord of the Rings, and the fourth is The Hobbit.
Which brings me to my announcement. At work, I ran across Jamie’s blog, Books and Beverages (which is lovely and you should probably all read it). But the really exciting part for me was the monthly Inklings. Once a month, Jamie lists a book that will be discussed. Anyone can read the book, go on the blog on the listed day, and answer some of the questions she gives.
That’s it. Read the book. Go on the blog. Answer some questions and respond to other readers if you’d like to. How fun is that?
For the past few months, I’ve meant to join in. Really. Best intentions and all that. But I haven’t yet.
Next month’s discussion, set for October 15th, is on The Hobbit, a book that I’ve also meant to re-read. Really. But I haven’t yet.
This time, I’m doing it, and I’m super excited. So excited that I’d like you to join me. That’s right—you.
Most of us, like Bilbo at the start of the story, think the idea of doing stuff is great. But when it comes down to it, when the wizard is at our door telling us to come on an adventure, we look up, glance nervously at our mother’s doilies, folded neatly in place, and mutter, “Um…no thanks.”
So here’s your chance to do something—to finish, to follow through on good intentions, to read a book that’s been on your list (or re-read list) for years. And you have a month to do it!
Why bother? I’m so glad you asked! Let me present you with a long, impressive list of Amy’s Awesomely Persuasive Reasons for Joining this Discussion.
If you are a human: You know how sometimes you read a good book and suddenly the real world makes a little more sense, and you want to be a slightly different person, and you feel like you’ve gone on a real, dragon-hunting adventure? This is that book. For me, at least, it captured a little corner of childlike excitement about the world. And also made me want to be a hobbit.
If you don’t know me, like, at all: It can be fun to get to know someone a little better via the Internet. There are some of you blog readers (and regular commenters) who I’ve never met. An “event” like this can be a fun way to learn a little bit about the other people joining in the fun. (Also Jamie, who, as I mentioned earlier, is super cool.)
If you are a high school or college student: Yes, I realize this feels a little like homework. But think about how cool it will be to share your thoughts on a book in three sentences. Without being graded! If you’re worried about the poor college student syndrome causing you to choose between eating (Ramen) and buying a book, I’m guessing your library has a copy of The Hobbit. If not, look, a free audio version online! It’s delightful.
If you are, more specifically, a Taylor University student: Guys, you have a C.S. Lewis and Friends Center in your library. With actual antique pub furniture. Can we talk about how you have no excuse not to join in on this? Right. (Also, if you know people in the C.S. Lewis society and/or one of the classes on the Inklings going on right now, you should tell them about this event.)
If you have graduated college: Remember that cool thing you used to do where you could discuss stuff with people and have real interactions and sort-of-debates-but-no-one-actually-got-mad? Let’s bring it back, guys. Never stop learning stuff! Never stop thinking! The entire future of Western Christianity and the quality of literature could depend on YOU!
If you live in Minnesota (or are willing to make a road trip): Sometime in early December, my apartment-mates and I are talking about hosting a Second Breakfast party. If I know you’re a Hobbit fan, your chances of getting invited to said party just went up exponentially. And we make really good omelets and coffee cake. Just sayin’.
If you don’t have time: Bring the book with you (in a hard copy or on your phone, because apparently people actually have phones that do stuff other than make calls) and read it a chapter at a time as you’re waiting in line, waiting for the microwave to go off, waiting in traffic (mmm, maybe not). Or listen to the aforementioned audio version while working out, doing the dishes, etc.
If you want to be a snob at the movie theater: Guys, movie 3 is coming out this year! Nothing says, “I’m awesome and we should be friends” like being mildly skeptical of the movie versions of books that veer wildly off the author’s original intention. Not that I’m thinking of a few places where this happened in the first two movies. But…yeah. There were those moments.
If you are afraid everyone else in the discussion will be really smart and will judge any comment you make: They won’t. Seriously. Book blog people are the coolest. Particularly Inkling fans.
If you have actually walked into your closet and banged your head against the wall repeatedly, trying to open up a portal to Narnia: We should be friends. And what better way to make friends with other nerdy—I mean, cool and literary—people than to join in an online book discussion? (Besides coming to a Second Breakfast party, I mean.)
So, that’s it, guys. October 15th. I’ll post a reminder on my blog with a link to the discussion. Tell your friends. Get a copy of The Hobbit. Jot down favorite quotes as you read. Think about the parts that changed for the movie and why that might be. Burst in unannounced to a friend’s house and eat all of his food, preferably while singing. (Kidding. Sort of.)
See you in the Misty Mountains,